Media advised to strike balance btwn mkt demands and public interest

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New Delhi, Apr 24 (UNI) While accepting the fact that market had come to stay, prominent journalists today called upon those in the profession to find a way to serve public interest while making use of the opportunities and tools provided by such forces.

They said though the pressure of the market had always been there, but today it was trying to completely mould the media in its interest, which had to be resisted by journalists otherwise they would lose their raison d'etre, which was to serve the public interest.

They were speaking at a seminar on 'Who Rules Media: State, Market or Public Interes to organised by the Delhi Journalists Association in colaboration with the Information and Public Relations Department of the Delhi government.

Veteran journalist and Outlook editor-in-chief Vinod Mehta said journalism had become a costly affair now, and it needed market money. ''We cannot fight the market forces, so we should learn how to make use of the tools provided by them in public interest,'' he said.

He said a media organisation or a news paper had to be financially viable to do its job.'' A financially weak newspaper was more likely to succumb to the pull of market forces,'' he added.

While agreeing with Mr Mehta that money was essential for a news organisation to function, eminent journalist B G Verghese , however, said journalism cannot be made a means to mint profit.

A demarcation between good and bad journalism has to be made, he added.

''Today we talk of market competition, but competition demands quality, but the question was whether our newspapers and channels were paying any attention to it,'' he said.

Mr Verghese also attacked the Government and Parliament for their ''interference'' in the affairs of Doordarshan and the All India Radio, which, he said, had led to loss of identity for the Prasar Bharati.

Prasar Bharati had been created in public interest, but due to the government reluctance to losen hold over it, the organisation had lost its credibility in the media world, he said Earlier, inaugurating the seminar, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the media needed some introspection and while making some concessions to the situation created by the market , it has to keep the public interest foremost in its mind.

Expressing concern over the tendency to distort facts and sensationalise news, she said if the tendency continued it would result in loss of media credibility.

Hindi weekly Outlook editor Alok Mehta said the pressure of the market was not something new, and the challenge for journalist was to strike a balance between demands of the market and public interest.

Hindi news channel IBN editor Ashutosh in his remarks said the electronic media was in a growing stage and it would surely gain maturity with the passage of time.

Former president of National Union of Journalsits Nand Kishore Trikha said an irresponsible media was unaffordable for the country.

Among others who spoke at the seminar was also the convenor of the Asia Pacific unit of IFJ Sukumar Muralidharan.

UNI NAZ SP AS1924

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